Hamilton – Big-hitting New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder is poised for a return to the international stage, completing a remarkable comeback after a turbulent period on the sidelines.
The 29-year-old was named Thursday in the New Zealand team to play the West Indies in a series of five one-day internationals (ODIs) starting in Auckland on December 26.
Ryder, a self-confessed “bad boy” who is regarded by many in New Zealand as a cult hero, went into a self-imposed exile 22 months ago to sort out personal issues following several alcohol-related incidents.
“I set the goal to make it back earlier this year and it is a great end to a tough year for me. I'm more motivated than ever,” Ryder said when the 13-man ODI squad was named.
In March, Ryder suffered a fractured skull and was placed in an induced coma in hospital after being beaten up outside a bar.
He also received a six-month ban this year after testing positive to a performance-enhancing drug found in weight-loss pills he was taking.
The left-hander is a prodigiously talented batsman, averaging 40.93 from 33 Test innings and 34.27 in ODIs, also from 33 innings.
New Zealand selection manager Bruce Edgar said Ryder would give the side “added firepower at the top of the order”.
Martin Guptill will join Ryder opening the innings after missing the recent tour of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka through injury.
Pace bowler Tim Southee was named in the squad although he will miss the first two ODIs while he has treatment for a toe injury.
New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson. – Sapa-AFP